At a Capitol Hill press conference this afternoon, Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL), joined by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA), announced the introduction in the House of bipartisan legislation that would authorize the use of American military force against ISIL. Joining Welch and Rigell at the press conference were Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), the sponsors of identical legislation in the Senate.
"Under the U.S. Constitution, it is the responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force," said Congressman Welch. "Since August 8, 2014 when military action against ISIL began, Congress has been absent. Since then, our military has delivered 8,573 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq at a cost to the American taxpayer of $5.2 billion. One American service member has been killed. It is time Congress did its job by debating and deciding on America's role in defeating ISIL. The failure of Congress to do its job is an abdication of its Constitutional responsibility and an indefensible transfer of power to the executive."
The War Powers Resolution states that apart from an attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces, Congress must either declare war or authorize the proposed military action. The bipartisan, bicameral Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF) introduced today would authorize the President to take specific, strategic military action and to provide support to our allies and regional partners in the battle to defeat ISIL. Key provisions include a sunset after three years unless reauthorized; a repeal of the 2002 Iraq AUMF; and a clause that defines this authorization as the sole statutory authority for the war on ISIL, as opposed to the 2001 AUMF.